Eng­land’s But­tler left buzzing af­ter 5-0 white­wash

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - CRICKET - DAVID CLOUGH AT OLD TRAF­FORD ■ Email: yp.sport@ypn.co.uk ■ Twit­ter: @YPS­port

JOS BUT­TLER was still buzzing with ela­tion long af­ter his bril­liant cen­tury had scram­bled Eng­land to the one-wicket win which com­pleted their his­toric 5-0 white­wash of Aus­tralia.

With­out But­tler, on his cap­tain Eoin Mor­gan’s ac­knowl­edge­ment, Eng­land would have had no chance at 114-8 in pur­suit of Aus­tralia’s un­der-par 205 all out in the one-day in­ter­na­tional se­ries fi­nale at Old Traf­ford.

But the wick­et­keeper-bats­man sim­ply would not be de­nied as first he and York­shire’s Adil Rashid got Eng­land within range in a ninth-wicket stand of 81 – and then he struck a straight six off Mar­cus Stoi­nis and the cover­driven four which clinched the deal off the same bowler.

There were some ner­vous mo­ments, of course, as But­tler (110no) and No 11 Jake Ball took one un­ex­pected sin­gle and de­clined others.

But­tler got it un­ques­tion­ably right when it mat­tered most, though, to edge a thrilling con­test.

“It’s ob­vi­ously a great feel­ing, hit­ting the win­ning runs... it’s pure ela­tion, isn’t it?” he asked.

“You know it’s one shot... but that’s prob­a­bly when you be­come most flus­tered, when it’s in touch­ing dis­tance.

“You’ll prob­a­bly never match that... one (wicket left) and pluck­ing it from nowhere when we didn’t re­ally have the right to win the game.

“Win­ning games when you didn’t de­serve to, they’re al­most the more en­joy­able ones.”

Eng­land put them­selves on course for this first white­wash over Aus­tralia in any for­mat, dat­ing back through al­most 140 years of Ashes ri­valry, when Moeen Ali’s ca­reer-best 4-46 helped to bowl the tourists out in just 34.4 overs.

But by the time they lurched to 50-5 in re­sponse, it looked a long shot. But­tler was full of praise for Rashid, and Ball.

“Great credit to him to come out and face the balls,” he said of the lat­ter.

“He did it beau­ti­fully [against Ash­ton Agar]... fight­ing a few in­stincts, I think – he wanted to run down and try and smack it.

“But it’s a tough thing to do, soak up that pres­sure and deal with that – and a huge feather in his cap to know he’s come through.”

Asked how much faith he had in Ball when he walked out, But­tler added with a smile: “It prob­a­bly looked like more than I thought I had!

“I think we needed five, and I said to him: ‘If it’s two we’ll run, if it’s one I’ll take the strike – and maybe run at the end of the over’.

“But I smashed it to long-off and didn’t see the guy... and just ran.”

Some of Eng­land’s coach­ing staff, picked up on broad­cast cam­eras, could barely watch at that point.

But Mor­gan knew the right man was out there.

Asked if any­one else in the team could have won the match as But­tler did, he said: “Prob­a­bly not.

“To pro­duce an in­nings like he did... he man­aged to get us over the line some­how, and when he plays like that he cre­ates a lot of be­lief in the chang­ing room that rubs off. It’s out­stand­ing.”

The white­wash was lapped up by a sell-out crowd, but ap­pears a mere de­tail to Mor­gan’s men.

He added: “The at­mos­phere in the ground, peo­ple were quite pas­sion­ate and hun­gry about it.

“But cer­tainly within the chang­ing room... the ac­tual 5-0 is not some­thing we speak about.”

It seemed a for­mal­ity that the line-up which piled up a worl­drecord 481-6 at Trent Bridge on Tues­day, then made light of Eng­land’s sec­ond-high­est suc­cess­ful run chase at Ch­ester-le-Street three days ago, would com­fort­ably come out on top.

That as­sump­tion did not last long.

Ja­son Roy was first to go, for a sin­gle in the very first over, af­ter Aus­tralia took a chance on the spin of Ash­ton Agar with the new ball – and the opener gave him the charge, missed and was bowled.

Billy Stan­lake then took over from the Statham End, Jonny Bairstow caught-be­hind and Joe Root edg­ing to slip be­fore cap­tain Eoin Mor­gan was cas­tled by pace.

If Eng­land thought they were in calmer wa­ters once Stan­lake’s new-ball spell was done, they had to think again – be­cause Alex KING OF OLD TRAF­FORD: Hales chased a wide one and was caught-be­hind in Kane Richard­son’s first over.

But­tler was al­ready bat­ting ad­mirably – but as Richard­son re­turned to take two in two, debu­tant Sam Cur­ran and Liam Plun­kett caught-be­hind, sup­port re­mained sadly lack­ing un­til Rashid strut­ted in at No 10.

He stayed put un­til hoist­ing Mar­cus Stoi­nis to long-leg in the 46th over – but But­tler would not be de­nied.

Ir­re­spec­tive of what fol­lowed, Aus­tralia’s in­nings was manic and flawed af­ter they won the toss in glo­ri­ous con­di­tions on a quick pitch.

Moeen and then Cur­ran – both with two wick­ets in three balls – took turns to stop the tourists in their tracks.

Travis Head (56) hit his third suc­ces­sive half-cen­tury, but got out frus­trat­ingly soon af­ter­wards for the third time too, and D’Arcy Short was left un­beaten three runs short of his maiden ODI 50.

Aus­tralia fal­tered from 60-0 in lit­tle more than six overs to 1005 – and they crum­bled a sec­ond time af­ter Short shared a stand of 59 with Alex Carey.

Head and Aaron Finch hit Cur­ran out of the at­tack in an early on­slaught which threat­ened to put un­ac­cus­tomed pres­sure on the Eng­land bowlers, only for the in­tro­duc­tion of Moeen to break the open­ing stand.

Finch edged an at­tempted pull down on to his leg-stump, and then Stoi­nis mis­s­wept Moeen to short fine-leg for a sec­ond-ball duck.

Eng­land’s Jos But­tler salutes the fans as he cel­e­brates his 100 against Aus­tralia dur­ing the One-Day In­ter­na­tional match at Emi­rates Old Traf­ford, Manch­ester. Inset, Eng­land’s Eoin Mor­gan lifts the tro­phy.

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